25 Oct 2005 04:00 AM

The Government today led the way in cutting carbon emissions when Financial Secretary to the Treasury, John Healey MP, turned on Whitehall's energy-saving District Heating System.

The combined heat and power (CHP) system not only provides heat to 18 Government Departments, including Number 10 and the Treasury, but also produces electricity for use across Whitehall. It is estimated that the energy-efficient plant will save taxpayers a projected £140,000 a year in net running costs and reduce carbon emissions by 2,600 tonnes.

The energy-saving system, based in the newly refurbished Ministry of Defence building, produces electricity from a single gas turbine power plant, and utilises normally wasted heat using 12km of insulated piping to warm Whitehall Departments. Its use will be key in helping the Government reach its self-imposed target of 15% of electricity consumption to come from good quality CHP by 2010.

Switching on the system, John Healey said:

"This is the largest energy-saving combined heat and power plant in the Government estate which not only provides heat and light across Whitehall, but also reduces carbon emissions and saves money."

"CHP is making a key contribution to the Government's drive to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions and the very fact that Whitehall uses such a system reflects the Government's continuing commitment to tackling climate change. "

Notes to editors

1. The Whitehall District Heating System provides heat to 18 Government office buildings in Whitehall amounting to 270,000 square metres of floor space.

2. Electricity is generated by a gas turbine based unit producing 4.7Mw of electricity and 9Mw of heat. This is what is known as a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant. Normal fuel is gas with the ability to run on 35 sec oil during supply interruptions.

3. The CHP only uses 400kw of the electricity generated balance of 4.3Mw is exported to local electricity supplier London Energy.

4. Heat is provided by High Temperature Hot Water at temperatures of up to 140 degrees centigrade pressurised to 10 Bar. Heat is converted to low temperature hot water at buildings by plate heat
exchangers/storage calorifiers.

5. The original scheme was designed in the 1930s, with the three original boilers installed in the 1951 and the full community heating scheme being operational in 1966. It supplies government buildings through 12 kms of underground heat mains and provides 34 GWh of heat energy per annum - enough to supply around 3,000 homes. In 1993, the Property Advisers to the Civil Estate carried out a detailed feasibility study as the original boiler plant was nearing the end of its useful life. It was decided that the scheme would be refurbished and CHP introduced as it fulfils the objectives of long-term sustainability in terms of energy use, environmental impact, economic viability and Best Value. The CHP was originally completed in 1998. However the refurbishment of the MoD building from 2002 to the present and the economics of electricity generation have meant the CHP has been off line, with the conventional heating system running in the interim.

6. The Chancellor recently appointed Sir Nicholas Stern, the Head of the Government Economic Service, to lead a review into the economics of climate change which will report its findings to the Government in the Autumn 2006. For further information please see HM Treasury press notice 85/05.